CBC institutes dramatic increase in program promo

Robert PattilloVice-President of Communications and Public AffairsCBCQ. How, from a marketing perspective, are you preparing yourself for the arrival of new specialty services?A. When I came here, I came with specific goals: to create the image of a single corporation that...

Robert Pattillo

Vice-President of Communications and Public Affairs

CBC

Q. How, from a marketing perspective, are you preparing yourself for the arrival of new specialty services?

A. When I came here, I came with specific goals: to create the image of a single corporation that included both radio and television, and French and English services, to give that service a name and to call it public broadcasting.

I have taken that image, given it a logo and put it on the screen in a translucent application in the bottom right hand corner. That is how I am raising people’s awareness that they are watching the cbc.

Strategically placed

I have spent the last year taking over all of the promotional aspects of programs on television. Our communication has changed dramatically to include infinitely more program promotion and that program promotion is more strategically placed, in the context of demographics.

Q. What are you doing to make your brand stand out from the competition?

A. We believe our distinction lies in the nature of our programming, and we are trying to bring that to the attention of people in traditional marketing ways.

Change behavior

We felt that in changing the schedule in the manner that we did (by moving the news to 9 p.m.) we would cross the bridge of changing people’s behavior.

We now have in development programs that are more closely associated with the principles espoused in public broadcasting.

We can’t be everything to everybody, but I think we’ve made a lot of progress.

Q. How are you communicating your brand identity to your viewers?

A. The Go Public campaign was our way of telling viewers that we wanted them to consider us in a unique context and to reflect upon the fact that we were the nation’s public broadcaster.

Three issues

The campaign attempted to address three different issues:

1) After all the budget cuts, we had a morale problem and we wanted our staff to believe that what they were doing was worthwhile;

2) We thought that the general public was confused about what we were trying to do with the new schedule and we felt they were having difficulty in understanding where the favorite shows were, so we made the campaign very program-specific in terms of time and place; and,

3) We wanted to give the idea of public broadcasting some enthusiastic meaning.

And I think it’s fair to say, by any measurement, we succeeded in a big way. All of the market audience we lost with our confusion of schedule in the fall of ’92, we recovered by the spring of ’93.

We have now gone into a second tier of that campaign, using ordinary Canadians, who are also talking about programs, to reinforce the whole public broadcasting strategy.

Of course, I’m not always going to use CBC Public Broadcasting, on such a heavy rotation. The communication will evolve into the service line – CBC Television, CBC Radio, CBC Newsworld.

I don’t think people need to be beaten over the head for the rest of time.

Q. How are you communicating your brand identity to media buyers and advertisers?

A. We rely on the salespeople to communicate with the media buyers and advertisers.

They are rigorous about staying in touch with us, and I certainly make sure they understand where we are as a corporation in terms of our image and how we are projecting that image.

I think that they communicate the differences in presenting a very different schedule.

Q. How is your marketing effort being allocated between viewers and advertisers and their agencies?

A. In this fiscal year, my thrust has been entirely to the viewing audience, to try to stabilize that audience, and help them understand what we are trying to do.

Advertisers and their agencies will evaluate us on our success in generating audiences.

However, I will say that advertisers were positively disposed to the ‘Go Public’ strategy when it was first announced last spring.

I think that’s because, if you’re an advertiser, it’s better to be able to advertise inside an understood context.